Six Spine-chilling Suggestions of Things To Do in Edinburgh for Halloween.

Edinburgh is famed as being one of the most haunted places in the world thanks to its dark history of witchcraft trials, public executions, disease and torture. It’s no surprise that the city explodes with activity around Halloween. 

Struggling to decide on how to celebrate? Here are six spine-chilling suggestions picked out by our staff at Auld Reekie Tours.

1. Auld Reekie Tours

Join us here at Auld Reekie Tours! We own the largest portion of vaults beneath the infamous South Bridge. These were originally carved out as storage rooms in the late 18th century before being abandoned and left to become the haunt of beggars, bodysnatchers and possibly criminal gangs.

Today, a jaunt through the vaults regularly sends visitors sprinting for the exit. Ours were featured on Most Haunted back in 2008 and scared Joe Swash sufficiently enough into believing ghosts are real. Reckon you’d fare better? We recommend booking: 

18+ The Terror Tour 

12+ The Vaults & Graveyard Tour 

12+ The Haunted Vaults Tour 

2. National Museum of Scotland 

The Anatomy: A Matter of Life and Death exhibition is running at The National Museum of Scotland until Halloween. If you’re up for a morbidly fascinating afternoon, this is the place to be. As well as documenting 500 years of medical dissection, the exhibition specially focuses on the social conditions in Edinburgh that brought about the Burke and Hare murders. 

Speaking of which, William Burke’s handwritten confession and skeleton are both on display: his body was donated to Edinburgh University’s anatomy school following his execution. How’s that for historical karma!

3. Samhuinn Fire Festival 

Beltane Fire Society returns to Calton Hill with another awe-inspiring spectacle this October. Following on from their celebration of Beltane back in April, the Samhuinn Fire Festival is a modern reimagining of the ancient Celtic festival, which marks the return of winter on Halloween night. 

Book tickets now to watch the Summer and Winter Kings dramatically clash in a performance enacted through fire tossing, dancing and acrobatics. 

4. Edinburgh Horror Festival 

Running from the 27th to the 31st October, the Edinburgh Horror Festival! is a run of 18+ live theatre experiences at the Banshee Labyrinth. Reputedly, this is one of the most haunted pubs in Scotland. Why? Because it is situated in the South Bridge Vaults!

Like the website says, we recommend grabbing a drink before taking a seat in the underground theatre. You’re going to need one to steady the nerves. 

5. Fright Night: Silent Movie Double

Stockbridge isn’t exactly known as being one of the “scariest” districts in Edinburgh. However, the silent movie era double bill at St. Vincent’s Chapel promises to plunge you into the haunted atmosphere of Gothic Edinburgh. 

Accompanied by a score curated and performed by professional musicians, two 1920s horror classics – Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Nosferatu (“Vampire”) – will be screened by candlelight in the shadows of the church.

6. The Botanics Halloween Trail 

This is a perfect option for families with young children. Pick up a trail booklet (only £2) at either the East or West entrance of Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden to follow Hootie the Owl on an adventure through the gardens. 

The aim is to collect all the ancient botanical ingredients needed to cast a spell that will “magically” result in a tasty treat. We believe you still get given one whether successful in the quest or not…but no promises. 

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